HUMS 639
Rome through the Ages

Laurie Nussdorfer

Course Description
Focusing on monuments and literature, this interdisciplinary lecture and discussion course surveys the history of the city of Rome from the founding of the Republic (509 BCE) to the height of the Baroque era around 1650, devoting roughly equal time to Rome in antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance/Baroque period.   We use the story of this unique city for several purposes:  to introduce the history of a specific and very resonant urban topography and its key monuments; to study celebrated literary works generated in Rome in their local context; and finally to explore the symbolic role that the city of Rome has played in European culture over two thousand years.   Rome, in this course, is both a city of living people and a city of the imagination.   You will develop the skills of close reading of visual and textual evidence as you follow its path through time.
Course Format and Assignments
All assigned reading is required and should be completed by the time of our class meeting.   Our usual format will consist of a slide lecture on the site and topic for the week, followed by a short break and then a discussion of the primary source reading for the week.   There will be a total of three papers and one oral report.   Two of the papers (4  pp. each) will be on an assigned topic from the primary source reading and will be due in class Feb. 20 and April 3.   The third paper (7-8 pp.) will utilize both the assigned primary and secondary sources and some additional library research; it will be on a particular site or monument in Rome (selected by you) and the changes it went through over the centuries we cover in the course.   These papers will be due at our last class May 1, and you will each give a short illustrated oral report that evening on the site or building you have researched.

Since class discussion of primary sources is such an important part of this course, participation in discussion will also count in your final evaluation.

Please note:  my general policy is not to give extensions for late papers.

Summary of Paper Dates:
February 20 - Virgil, Aeneid (4 pp.)
April 3 - Life of Cola di Rienzo (4 pp.)
May 1 - Oral report and paper (7-8 pp.)

Office Hours
My office is in Butterfield C 412 (the Director’s office, College of Letters).   I would be happy to set up appointments at our mutual convenience.   My e mail address is:
How to Obtain the Course Readings
Many of the course readings (indicated by the letter P on the syllabus) are in a course packet labeled HUMS 639 that can be purchased from the Minuteman Press, 512 Main Street in Middletown (tel. 347-5700).   In addition several paperback books have been ordered and are available at Broad Street Books (shelved under the course initials and number).

Books Available at Broad Street Books:

J. Stambaugh,  The Ancient Roman City
Livy, The Early History of Rome
Virgil, The Aeneid of Virgil, trans. Allen Mandelbaum
M. Keen, The Penguin History of Medieval Europe

The Marvels of Rome
,  ed. F. M. Nichols
The Life of Cola di Rienzo,
trans. John Wright
W. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

Schedule of Lectures, Discussions, and Readings
January 23 Course Introduction

Reading: Catharine Edwards, Writing Rome (1996), chap. 1

January 30 I. Rome in Antiquity

Lecture:  Early Rome
Site:  The Seven Hills
Discussion:  Livy
Stambaugh, The Ancient Roman City, chap. 1
Livy (59 BCE-17 CE), The Early History of Rome, book 1

February 6 Lecture:  Rome under the Republic (509-44 BCE)
Site:  The Roman Forum
Discussion:  Cicero
Stambaugh, The Ancient Roman City, 16-47, 101-14
P Cicero (106-43 BCE), Speeches (Against Catiline I; For Caelius
February 13 Lecture:  Augustun Rome (31 BCE-14 CE)
Site:  The Forum of Augustus
Discussion:  Suetonius
Stambaugh, The Ancient Roman City, 48-66
P Suetonius (69 CE-c.130 CE), Life of Augustus
February 20 Lecture:  Rome under the Emperors (14 CE-312 CE)
Site:  The Pantheon
Discussion:  Virgil
Stambaugh, The Ancient Roman City, 67-85, 213-24
Virgil (70-19 BCE), The Aeneid, Books 1, 8, 11, 12
Paper due in class on Virgil's Aeneid (4 pp.)
February 27 Lecture:  Early Christian Rome (312-500)
Site:  St. Peter's Basilica
Discussion:  St. Augustine
P Krautheimer, Rome: Profile of a City, 21-24, 26-28, 31
P St. Augustine (354-430 AD), The City of God, Book 1
March 6 II. Rome in the Middle Ages

Lecture:  Rome in the Dark Ages (500-1200)
Site:  Pilgrimage Churches
Discussion:  Marvels of Rome
P Donation of Constantine
Keen, Penguin History of Medieval Europe, chs. 1, 2, 5
Marvels of Rome (c. 1143)

March 27 Lecture:  High Medieval Rome (1200s)
Site:  The Lateran
Discussion:  Dante
Keen, Penguin History of Medieval Europe, chs. 10, 12, 15
P Dante (1265-1321), On Monarchy (excerpt) and Letter VII
April 3 Lecture:  Late Medieval Rome
Site:  The Capitoline Hill
Discussion:  Life of Cola di Rienzo
Keen, Penguin History of Medieval Europe, ch. 19
P Petrarch (1304-74), Letters
Life of Cola di Rienzo
(anonymous, c. 1358)
Paper due in class on Life of Cola di Rienzo (4 pp.)
April 10 III. Rome in the Renaissance, Counter-Reformation, and Baroque Periods

Lecture:  High Renaissance Rome (1500-50)
Site:  The Vatican
Discussion:  Vasari
P Raphael documents
P Vasari (1544-74), Life of Raphael
Vasari (1511-74, Life of Michelangelo

April 17 Lecture:  Counter-Reformation Rome (1550-90)
Site:  Obelisks
Discussion:  Montaigne and Martin
P Magnuson, Sixtus V
Michel de Montaigne (1533-92), Travel Journal
Gregory Martin (1542?-82), Roma Sancta
April 24 Lecture: Baroque Rome (1600s)
Site:  Piazza Navona and St. Peter's Square
Discussion:  Shakespeare's Romans
P Girourd, Cities and People, ch. 6
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Antony and Cleopatra
May 1 Student oral reports
Paper due in class (7-8 pp.)